What I've Been Doing This Year

Wednesday 07 December 2011 at 12:48 pm.

So on the outward it looks like I really haven't done much of anything this year, just the infrequent updates to Its Safer Here as that's been building out and whatever can be gleaned out of my probably confusing Twitter posts. And while I already admitted that I haven't done much in the way of writing this year, programming has been somewhat of a different case for me. I have done a bunch of it throughout the year, just not much to show for any of it for various reasons. Usually because of hitting up against blocks. 

At the beginning of this year, after failing (again) to get the roguelike I was working on released, I started working on WP7 development, trying to, instead of trying to do a large project for now, make something smaller, simpler, and more condoning to the phone platform. So I started a game, tentatively called "Get Me Outta Here!", about trying to navigate out of a booby-trapped building. However, the control scheme I came up for it proved to be horribly inadequate once I actually got my hands on a WP7 phone once I bought my LG Quantum, and so I decided to switch it to being an XBLIG instead. However I couldn't get the navigation input to work right on there adequately either, and so I just scrapped it for the time being. 

Not wanting to give up on the phone, I started exploring different input methods to try to design something that fully was designed around a touchscreen input, and after some experimenting had a basic app on my phone with my input experiment to see how it works, simply called "Spaaaaaaaaaaaace" for lack of any particular ideas and it just being navigation around a starfield at the time. In the mean time, the old pinball lover in me got rekindled and I started working on a pinball game, but the lack of any physical pinball machines in general in Utah made it hard for me to see how the real thing works for physics, and not being able to adequately design a table until I could test that made me put it on the shelf for the time.

So while I was doing that I was working on something for DBP as well. I was originally going to make a danmaku shmup, but a little experiment with shadowing lead me to a different idea using colored light as a mechanic. However, trying to do it with shaders led me to realize how little I understand shaders, and trying to find a way to do it without shaders never performed well enough for me to be happy with it, so I ended up having to drop it. And by then I had wasted too much time on that to be able to do the danmaku in time for the DBP deadline, so I had to give up on that too. 

I had also started a rewrite of Spiral Island's code from scratch, which I had already done a couple of blog entries about as I was looking over it and deciding why. I was going to do more as I worked on it more, but I set that aside after building my new desktop and didn't do much else with it.  After that I started with experimenting with a few different things while trying again to come up with something lending itself to a touchscreen interface, and started to formulate together some ideas around when the WP7 Mango developer beta came out. So I had started doing a little more with that, while at the same time experimenting with some new ideas that Mango opened up for ARG and stuff. So I started brewing together some new ideas for that, and finally came up with a good idea to do with that, but after NoDo's fiasco, not knowing when the Mango release was actually going to finish led me to start putting it on the queue for later. However, the sudden simultaneous release of Mango to everybody at once made me take a step back, and it took me a little while to decide whether I wanted to work on that first or whether I wanted to work on what grew out of the "Spaaaaaaaace" experiment first. 

Eventually I decided on working on the "Spaaaaaaace" game first, and so have been working on that some. Getting Minecraft in the last couple months hasn't really been condoning of getting work done on that much, but it hasn't been entirely unproductive because I've found that I can use it to do some spatial design work to get a surrounding feel of how room layouts look sizewise that for some reason I've never really been able to grasp using 3D modeling software for designing areas, so I've been able to hammer out other various designs for my games. As of right now though, I plan on spending the rest of this month of December finishing up the "Spaaaaaaaace" game design (graphics notwithstanding) so I have that done and ready for testing to move on with other work.

And that's what I've been up to design wise. Haven't had any contract work this year so it's just been me left to my own devices.

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Title: What I've Been Doing This Year
Date posted: 07 12 11 - 12:48
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